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NATUC meets today to finish the job

Trinidad Guardian, 23 September 2000

After two months of infighting, the National Trade Union Centre (Natuc), the country's umbrella trade union body, will reconvene its biennial convention today.

Earlier this week, the organisation's General Secretary, Selwyn John, said Natuc's third biennial convention will take place this morning at the Spektakula Forum to conclude its executive elections, which were aborted on July 1.

This decision, he said, was taken by at least 14 out of the 19 unions which comprise Natuc at a meeting of union heads on Monday at the headquarters of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW).

This follows the aborted July 1, elections of a new Natuc executive, where internal wranglings began after NUGFW General Secretary Robert Giuseppi was elected as president.

John, the incumbent president of NUGFW, said the elections will continue for the posts of first vice president, since the unions had accepted Giuseppi as Natuc's new president.

However, in a telephone interview earlier this week, Lyle Townsend, president of the Communications Workers Union (CWU), insisted that his union "will not be attending this illegal conference under any circumstances."

In fact, he added, the CWU was "considering" taking some form of action against Natuc.

The CWU, according to John, is not the only union who has taken this position, since he acknowledged, at least two other unions, the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) and the Public Service Association (PSA) had "never attended" the meetings to get Natuc back on track.

But, John insisted, since at present, at least 16 of the 19 unions supported Natuc's current decision, "come Saturday, one way or the other, the issue will be resolved and Natuc will be united once more."